The Saatchi Gallery re-opened on 9th October 2008 in the former military barracks of the Duke of York's Headquarters. The 70,000 square feet represents a significantly larger space than its previous 40,000 occupancy at County Hall. Ousted from the Southbank site in 2005, the re-location of the gallery had long been speculated upon and hotly anticipated. The former ad man Charles Saatchi made the transition to the art world in the 1990s, championing young artists and buying in bulk the works of Young British Artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. In keeping with this trait, the gallery includes a dedicated space for emerging artists from the Saatchi Online website.
Free London Galleries
Charles Saatchi's relocated gallery champions younger artists and is still free to all
Duke of York's Square, King's Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4SQ
Tube: Sloane Square Station
Events at Saatchi Gallery
11th April to 8th May 2017 - 10am-6pm | Free
London-based artist Ben Turnbull presents a solo show with works in various media which tell the story of young GIs from departure from homecoming.
31st March to 30th May 2017 | Free
Looking beyond Instagram, the Saatchi Gallery explores the history of the selfie this spring with its new exhibition. Presented in partnership with smartphone brand Huawei, From Selfie to Self-Expression will showcase key artworks to explore ...more
This art collection belongs to the British public and is free to visit
Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN
The National Gallery dominates over London's Trafalgar Square as it dominates all other galleries in the city in terms of world renown. Some of the finest examples of European art, ranging from 1260 to 1900, are included among the 2300 paintings filling its halls and rooms. Holbein's 'The Ambassadors', 'The Hay Wain' by Constable, and Jan Van Eyck's 'Arnolfini Marriage' are just some of the major attractions. Works on display also include those of Botticelli, Monet, Constable, Van Gogh and Rembrandt. This really is the place to come for top quality artwork spanning a wide spectrum of styles and periods. From the Early Renaissance to the Post-Impressionists, every significant stage in the development of painting is represented in its collection, often by masterpieces. Originally established by Parliament in 1824, the collection belongs to the British public and every effort is made to encourage the public to visit, view and experience the art: free entry, free events, free talks and free tours support this ethos of encouragement and enthusiasm. Regular weekend activities include: guided tours at 11.30am, 2.30pm with extra tours at 12.30pm and 3.30pm on Saturdays, lunchtime talks on Saturdays at 1am, and Art Through Words sessions for visitors with a visual impairment at 11.30am on the last Saturday of the month.
Events at National Gallery
15th February to 21st May 2017 | Free
15th March to 25th June 2017 | Admission charge, members go Free
22nd March to 16th July 2017 - Various Times | Free
26th April to 28th August 2017 | Free
Friday 12th May 2017 - 6pm-7pm | Free
The Choir of St Pancras Church performs a programme of works by contemporary British composers, including John Tavener, Francis Pott, Cecilia McDowall, Kerry Andrew, Tarik O'Regan, Gabriel Jackson, Howard Skempton and Toby Young.
10,000 portraits of everyone from statesmen to showbiz stars
St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE
This isn't the place to come for serious works of exceptional artistic merit - the overriding aim of the National Portrait Gallery is to reflect the status of the sitter, not the artist - but where else in London could you hope to find The Beatles, Henry VIII, Sir Richard Branson and JK Rowling all hanging out together? The appeal of this gallery (opened in 1856) rests simply in its comprehensive commemoration of British history from the late 15th century to the present day through the medium of portraiture. The sense of progression and the feeling of familiarity with many subjects are what make the gallery so appealing. Having said that, critically acclaimed self-portraits by William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds and other notable British artists are also displayed alongside the 10,000 portraits of everyone from statesmen to showbiz stars and media barons. The collection represents Britain and is arranged thematically, starting with the Tudors and ending with present day politicians and pop stars. Look out for the only surviving portrait of Shakespeare taken from life in The Ondaajte Wing, the Hans Holbein cartoon of Henry VIII, the anamorphic portrait of Edward VI, and the sculpture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in medieval costume. Photographs, caricatures, drawings and sculpture are included in the collection which also boasts 250,000 archived images. The National Portrait Gallery also hosts the annual Portrait Prize competition alongside ever-changing collections of contemporary work.
Events at National Portrait Gallery
Friday 28th April 2017 - 6.30pm | Free
A reimagining of Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall through live classical music played on the piano and performance.
9th March to 29th May 2017 | Adult £12, concession £10.50, members Free
23rd March to 18th June 2017 | Adult £12, concession £10.50, members Free
29th March to 30th October 2017 - Various Times | Free
7th September 2016 to 7th September 2017 | Free
13th April 2017 to 16th April 2018 | Free
Damien Hirst's gallery won the Riba Stirling Prize, the UK's leading architecture award.
Newport Street, Lambeth, London, SE11 6AY
Tube: Lambeth North Station
Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery has been built to bring his collection of over 2,000 artworks out of storage and on display to the public. Taking up the whole length of the Vauxhall street, the gallery - a combination of three listed buildings flanked by new buildings at either end - was designed by Caruso St John, the archtects behind the £45 million masterplan for Tate Britain's 2013 facelift. It's really six spaces in one which can used in different combinations to show Hirst's private collection - which includes pieces by Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons and British artists Sarah Lucas and Banksy - in small or very large exhibitions. "It's my Saatchi gallery, basically," he told the Observer in a 2012 interview. "It's a place to show my collection of contemporary art. It feels bad having it all in crates."
Britain's leading centre for contemporary photography.
16-18 Ramillies Street, Soho, London, W1F 7LW
Tube: Oxford Circus Station
The Photographers' Gallery - Britain's leading centre for contemporary photography - emerged from a 3.6 million pound redesign in May 2012 revealing the work of Irish architects O'Donnell and Tuomey. Relocating from Great Newport Street, its home for the past 27 years, to occupy a former warehouse built in Ramilies Street in 1910, the Photographers' Gallery has three floors of galleries, a studio floor for education activities, a bookshop, cafe and print sales space. Best of all, it hosts a year-round programme of fantastic free exhibitions and events. At ground level the building has a glass wall that links its cafe to a little square outside where outdoor photographic displays are held. On the top floor a large window reveals views across Oxford Street and beyond. A visit to this long-standing gallery is always worthwhile and it's annual Deutsche Borse Prize, the photographer's equivalent of the Turner, is a must-see for anyone with an interest in photography.
Events at Photographers' Gallery
3rd March to 11th June 2017 | Free
3rd March to 11th June 2017 - Various Times | £4, concs £2.50, Free before 12noon
3rd March to 11th June 2017 - Various Times | £4, concs £2.50, Free before 12noon
Home of the long-running Summer Pavilion, the Serpentine is free all year round
Kensington Gardens, South Kensington, London, W2 3XA
Tube: Lancaster Gate Station
The Serpentine provides a platform for contemporary artists, both British and international, with changing exhibitions. There's a permanent work comprising eight benches, a tree-plaque, and a carved stone circle by artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay in the grounds of the gallery which is dedicated to the Serpentine's former Patron Diana, Princess of Wales. In July, the annual Summer Party is a highlight on the party circuit, attracting celebrities, fashionistas and models showing the latest designer dresses. Rather more artistically important is the Summer Pavilion; each year a distinguished architect is invited to build a temporary structure which sits alongside the gallery for the summer months. Often controversial and always a talking point, the Summer Pavilion is arguably one of the most interesting exhibitions that the Serpentine presents.
Events at Serpentine Gallery
2nd March to 21st May 2017 - 10am-6pm | Free
Saturday 6th May 2017 - 3pm | Free
Assistant Curator, Joseph Constable, leads a tour of the exhibition 'A World View: John Latham'.
Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th May 2017 - 1pm | Free
Literary & Education, Kids' Workshop.
9th, 10th, 11th and 12th May 2017 - 11am-4pm | Free
Community & Lifestyle, Family Event.
Saturday 13th May 2017 - 3pm | Free
Exhibitions & Art, Multimedia.
One of four Tate galleries in the UK and home of the Turner Prize
Millbank, Westminster, London, SW1P 4RG
Tube: Pimlico Station
Overlooking the River Thames, Tate Britain was originally founded through the philanthropy of the sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate. The Tate legacy now encompasses three other galleries around the UK, including Tate Modern also in London. Dedicated to showcasing Britain's artistic talent, Tate Britain is home to the greatest collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. Since it opened in 1897, the collection has expanded to include works from Blake, Rossetti, Spencer and Stubbs. It also hosts the Turner Prize - the contemporary art world's premier award. Turner's Gallery (another tribute to the artist himself) is a virtual reconstruction of the room in which Turner showed his own paintings.
Events at Tate Britain
25th April to 18th June 2017 - 10am-6pm | Free
A collaborative performance project in which the British artists explore how people work with and against each other, considering how personal and occupational problems might be worked through collectively.
9th February to 29th May 2017
28th March to 20th August 2017 - 10am-6pm | Free
5th April to 1st September 2017 | Adult £16.50, concession £14.50
13th October 2015 to 7th May 2017 - 10am-6pm | Free
14th May 2013 to 31st December 2017 - 10am-6pm | Free
Europe's most popular art gallery is free to visit
Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, Tate Modern pays homage to art from 1900 to the present day. Located along the banks of the River Thames, the gallery opened to great acclaim in 2000 and has since welcomed millions of visitors through its imposing doors. If you are visiting for the first time, you should approach from Blackfriars station, crossing Norman Foster's 'Blade of Light' footbridge walking towards this spectacular modernist masterpiece with the dome of St Paul's Cathedral behind you. The awesome Turbine Hall creates a stunning entrance and a vast space, used to display temporary installations on a grand scale. There are three levels of galleries enclosed by a spectacular two-storey glass roof that provides fantastic views of London and a great cafe. Full of the jokey eccentricities of contemporary art, it's one of the few art galleries that children and teenagers will enjoy, but it also offers the full set of iconic twentieth century artists, from Matisse to Moore, Dali to Picasso. Justifiably the most popular art gallery in Europe.
Events at Tate Modern
27th, 28th, 29th and 30th Apr 2017 - 12noon-6pm | Free
Literary & Education, Lecture.
15th February to 11th June 2017 | £11.30, concs £10, under 12s/mems Free
10th November 2016 to 7th May 2017 | £16.50, concs £14.50, under 12s/mems Free
17th June 2016 to 17th June 2017 | Free
1st July 2016 to 31st December 2017 - 10am-6pm | Free
11th January 2016 to 31st August 2017 - Various Times | Free
11th January 2016 to 31st December 2017 - Various Times | Free
A striking extension to Tate Modern, with underground chambers and a free open air viewing platform.
Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
A dramatic new development at Tate Modern, we got our first glimpse inside The Tanks in summer 2012 - revealed as part of the Cultural Olympiad in the 2012 Olympics - before they were fully opened to the public in summer 2016. The giant underground chambers, previously used to store a million gallons of oil, now host new audio works, installations and film installations as well as performance art. The striking extension, which cost £215 million, consists of two large circular spaces for performances and film installations, and smaller rooms which retain the smell of their industrial past. There's a room dedicated to Louise Bourgeois, a ground floor cafe and a restaurant. All very impressive. But the crowning glory is the free open air viewing platform on the top floor. Views over St Paul's, the River Thames and Millennium Bridge compete with those into neighbouring luxury apartments. Obey the signs saying 'respect the privacy of our neighbours', if you can.
Art classes, workshops, talks and tours all on offer for free
Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone, London, W1U 3BN
Tube: Bond Street Station
Free art classes and workshops, talks and tours, bring alive to visitors the varied works of art on display in Hertford House - the original family home of The Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace. European paintings, miniatures and sculpture, French 18th-century furniture, Sevres and Meissen porcelain, goldsmiths' work and Oriental and European arms and armour combine to form one of the finest collections of art amassed by one family. Sir Richard Wallace - the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess of Hertford - built up the original collection left to him by his father. Several Old Master paintings, notably 'The Laughing Cavalier', works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Reynolds, Rubens, Gainsborough, Titian and Romney make this gallery a worthy rival of others in the city. Renovations to the town house, which uniquely occupies the whole side of a garden square, include a glass-roofed courtyard - home to Oliver Peyton's brasserie - four new galleries and educational facilities. The acquisitions, bequeathed to the nation by Wallace's widow in 1897, are all free to view. There are regular tours during the week and weekend tours take place on Saturdays at 11.30am and Sundays at 3pm.
Events at Wallace Collection
27th April to 24th September 2017 - 10am-5pm | Free
At a massive 58,000 square feet White Cube Bermondsey Street is the largest commercial gallery in Europe.
144-152 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ
Tube: London Bridge Station
Jay Jopling's third - and largest - White Cube art gallery in London is located on Bermondsey Street and set in a former 1970s warehouse. At a massive 58,000 square feet White Cube Bermondsey Street is not only the largest art gallery within Jopling's White Cube empire but also the largest commercial gallery in Europe. A timely opening during the 2011 Frieze art fair, on 12 October 2011, launched the gallery to the world's richest and most influential art buyers. Designed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects, the building has three principal exhibition spaces, substantial warehousing, private viewing rooms, an auditorium and a bookshop. The exhibition spaces are divided into the 'South Galleries', the principal display area, three smaller 'North Galleries', and the '9 x 9 x 9' gallery at the centre of the building. Frequently changing exhibitions by contemporary artists of the calibre of Jopling favourite Damien Hirst are supplemented by an education programme, artists' films and lectures. The first White Cube - one of the smallest exhibition spaces in Europe - was set up in Duke Street (1993-2002), not far from the current White Cube Mason's Yard which opened in September 2006, six years after White Cube Hoxton Square opened in April 2000.
Events at White Cube Bermondsey
28th April to 18th June 2017 - Various Times | Free
Paintings by the artist whose works explore light, material and surface.
Free-to-view, cutting edge art in hipster East London.
48 Hoxton Square, Hoxton, London, N1 6PB
Tube: Old Street Station
A leading part of the ferociously fashionable East London art scene, White Cube Hoxton Square, the first of White Cube's three London galleries, is invariably filled with some of the world's most cutting-edge art. Owner Jay Jopling is as A-list as the artists he collects. Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gilbert and George and his former wife Sam Taylor-Wood are all represented and their works shown at the three galleries and beyond. Occasionally, for really large exhibitions (like Gilbert & George's Jack Freak Pictures), artworks are spread across two of the White Cube galleries at Hoxton Square, at Mason's Yard and at the third and largest White Cube in Bermondsey - all of which are free to visit.
Britain's first purpose-built arts gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1 7QX
Designed in a distinctive Arts and Crafts architecture style by Charles Harrison Townsend, the Whitechapel, Britain's first purpose-built arts gallery, is renowned both for the beauty of its light, airy space and for embracing the local community in its work. Founded in 1901, extensive refurbishment saw the gallery double in size when it reopened in April 2009. The gallery does not have a permanent collection, preferring instead to host a constantly evolving programme of works and there is always something free to see. Community projects and retrospective exhibitions now rest alongside landmark examples of contemporary work. The Pop Art 'This is Tomorrow' exhibition of 1956 is often hailed as the gallery's most iconic event, although there are a number of other exhibitions worthy of note. Picasso's 'Guernica' was displayed here in 1938, Jackson Pollock had work exhibited at the gallery in the 1950s, David Hockney's first show was held here in 1970 and Lucian Freud had a major exhibition in 1993. With its pillared supports and high ceilings, The Lower Gallery, in particular, is a fantastic exhibition space.
Events at Whitechapel Gallery
28th September 2016 to 25th June 2017 | Free
28th March to 28th May 2017 - Various Times | Free
16th February to 14th May 2017 | £13.50, concs £11.95
27th April to 20th August 2017 - Various Times | Free
27th April to 20th August 2017 - Various Times | Free
IN THIS ARTICLE
National Portrait Gallery
Newport Street Gallery
Tate Modern: The Tanks
White Cube Bermondsey
White Cube Hoxton Square
London for Free
From cheap budget hotels to luxury 5 star hotels see our deals for hotels, including The Nadler Victoria Hotel from 47% off.